September 4, 2014 – Officers Meeting

George Mason University
Minutes of the Retired Faculty Association – Officers Meeting
September 4, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 11:35 a.m., Merton Hall

Present: Don Boileau, Bob Ehrlich, Katherine Haldeman, Julianne Mahler, Jane Razeghi, Janice Sutera
Guest: Bethany Usher, Director of the Students as Scholars initiative through the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research at Mason.

I. The meeting began at 10:04 am.

II. Election of VP: (Bob Ehrlich)

Don Boileau was elected VP of the Retired Faculty Association by acclamation and in accordance with RFA By-laws due to the resignation of Terry Myers Zawacki.

III. Monthly Meetings: (Bob Ehrlich)

1st Thursday of each month at 10 AM as follows. Kathy will request a room for the meetings.
o October 2 – Founders Meeting
o November 6
o December 4
o January 8
o February 5
o March 5
o April 2
o May 7
o June 4

IV. OSCAR – Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, & Research (Bethany Usher)
The program is aimed at increasing the participation of undergraduate students in research and there is a need for faculty mentors, including retired faculty. The need is particularly acute in the areas of science and business, but retired faculty in all areas are encouraged to participate.
Bethany mentioned two areas where retired faculty may become engaged with the program and perhaps gain funding:

1. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) – research-intensive and competitive (about half are funded). Requires joint proposals by a faculty member and a pre-identified student. In this program a deeper level of commitment in the design and execution of the research is expected from the student, who should be in a position to present the work either on campus or at a conference (for which travel funding is available).

a. So far, OSCAR has sent over 200 students to conferences. The program includes awards to students and faculty to help offset costs of time and materials which vary from $1500 to $5000.
b. If you have an interest in this type of program you may wish to be listed on the “find a mentor” page of the OSCAR web site.
Please send your name, department, and email contact information to the OSCAR Office to be added.

2. Federal Work Student Assistantships (students must qualify for financial aid)
You can submit a simple project proposal & OSCAR will send you resumes of all students who express an interest in the project. Alternatively, you could recruit students within your former academic unit, and if they qualify for work-study you could sign them up through OSCAR. This method could be a particularly good way to find highly talented students who happen to have financial need. Approved work-study students can earn up to $2500 working with you, typically for 10 hr/week. Nearly all work-study applicants will be funded if a mentor is found.

For more information contact Dr. Bethany Usher, Director of the Students as Scholars initiative, at or 703-993-3794, or peruse the OSCAR website

V. 2014-15 Event Planning Update: (Julie Mahler)

A. See overview below. Still working on providing a Sept/October program.
B. Bob Ehrlich offered to bring the wine for programs/events this fall.
C. Suggested consideration of another brunch event. Faculty Arts Board holds events for $25. per person
ACTION: Research will be done by Don Boileau.

• September 9, 2014 – Chris Jones on Potomac River ecology. Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, and Director of the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center will speak to us on “Water Quality and Living Resources in Gunston Cove and Tidal Potomac River.” A guided tour of the river ecology at Pohick Bay Regional Park. Morning and afternoon trips are planned with an optional picnic lunch at noon. Professor Jones will provide an overview of the topic. Also accompanying Professor Jones will be a very knowledgeable birder to provide water bird identification and natural history notes.

• September 25, 2014 – Ken Elson, Director, School of Theater, who is directing The Mystery Of Edwin Drood a Music Hall version of the unfinished Dickens mystery, will speak to us about directing the performance. 7:00, social, 7:30 Talk with Q & A (place TBA).

• November 13, 2014 – Steve Pearlstein, Robinson Professor of Public Affairs, former Post columnist
The Moral Contradictions of Capitalism, Thursday, November 13, 12:30 (place TBA).

• January 22, 2015 – Carol Mattusch, Mathy Professor of Art History, Emeritus
“Pompeiian Dreams: Myths and Realities about the ancient Romans on the Bay of Naples”
This will be about the 18th-century rediscovery of the ancient towns and villas on the Bay of Naples and the impact of those finds between the 18th and the 21st centuries. Richly illustrated!

Unconfirmed Program Ideas/Suggestions:

  • TBA – Janine Wedel, University Professor; School of Policy, Government and International Affairs Corruption and Foreign Aid – interesting work on corruption, foreign aid
  • Richard Norton Smith—American presidency—Worked for Ford, has done recent research on First Ladies.
  • Monica Marcelli, manages the greenhouses on 4th floor of  Exploratory Hall—plant genetics
  • Paulette Royt—On Native Plants and gardens
  • Paul So – neuroscience – modeling the brain to understand neurological pathological problems such as epilepsy.
  • Evans Mandes, College of Science
  • Edward Maibach – Director, Center for Climate Change Communication
  • Robert Lichter – Director, Center for Media and Public Affairs – political communications – humor and the presidents on late night TV shows
  • Gary Kreps,  Director, Center for Health and Risk Communication
  • Bob Ehrlich – “crazy ideas in science”

VI. Funding, Donations (Jane Razeghi)
• Foundation account balance: $282.00

VII. Links to HR – website, Association for Retirement Organizations in Higher Education (Kathy H.)
ACTION: Kathy will follow up on funding for National Association organizational membership and will report at the next meeting- $120.00 annually (July 1- June 30)
• HR website will have a Retirement section. ACTION: Kathy will report on progress of revisions.

VIII. Future meeting with Dr. Wu (Bob E.) – perhaps in spring 2015
ACTION: For discussion at next meeting – think about what RFA might like to request (office space website visibility, chargeable account) and what we have to offer (research mentors, scholarships).

IX. Next Meeting Date:
October 2, 10 AM, Room TBA. Founding members will be invited to attend.

X. Adjournment: 11:35 AM